A self-described libertarian whose “Proud Boys” group was active at last year’s Unite the Right rally has seen his Twitter profile and several affiliated accounts suspended this week.
Buzzfeed News reported the development on Saturday, the day before demonstrators were set to gather in D.C. for the one-year anniversary of the violent event in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Addressing Sunday’s rally prior to his Twitter suspension, Gavin McInnes said he and his group would not be participating.
“It goes without saying #ProudBoys have NOTHING to do with this and won’t go near it,” he wrote, according to the Daily Caller. “We are a multi-racial group that eschews the alt-right.”
Nevertheless, Twitter felt he had violated the platform’s terms of service and several associated accounts were suspended.
“We can confirm that these accounts have been suspended from Twitter and Periscope for violating our policy prohibiting violent extremist groups,” Twitter said in a statement to Buzzfeed.
Twitter spokeswoman Raki Wane provided a similar response to the Daily Caller, adding that there was “nothing more to share at this time.”
In addition to his public profile page and the national Proud Boys account, more than a dozen other accounts — primarily state chapters and other affiliates — have also been taken offline.
Proud Boys accounts in Connecticut and Louisiana, however, appeared to avoid the same fate and were still active as of the latest reports available.
McInnes described it as a “conservative purge” aimed at preventing President Donald Trump’s re-election.
He went on to predict that the Twitter suspension “will have zero effect on my reach or on the Proud Boys.”
The president of CRTV, which hosts McInnes’ show, criticized Twitter’s decision in a statement released on Friday.
“Free speech is under attack,” Gaston Mooney wrote. “That is the very reason CRTV exists. Leftists use bloodthirsty mobs and allies in the liberal media and tech elite to muzzle the voices of anyone who won’t march in lockstep. They are working to undermine one of the core tenets of a free society.”
Mooney defended McInnes from claims of racism and hate-mongering, describing him instead as an inclusive patriot.
“Gavin McInnes has repeatedly and clearly denounced racism, the alt-right, and neo-Nazis,” he wrote. “Twitter’s censorship of such a strong voice for freedom for people of all races and creeds is an assault on American values.”
Though several critics of McInnes and his fans applauded the suspensions, even some of his detractors labeled the move as an overreaction on Twitter’s part.
“Gavin McInnes is a cruel and loathsome cult leader, but is he a ‘violent extremist’? I don’t think I’ve seen evidence of that,” Reason editor Robby Soave tweeted.
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